Informacion economica sobre Cuba

Yoani Sanchez Award-winning Cuban blogger

Independent Labor Unions Outlawed in Cuba, For The “Proletariat” and the
Self-Employed Alike
Posted: 08/04/2013 8:48 pm

The National Tax Administration (ONAT) office is open and dozens of
people have been waiting from very early. An employee shouts directions
for what line to get into for each procedure, although a few minutes
later confusion will reign once again. At a desk without a computer
another official writes the details of each case attended to, by hand.
The wall behind her back is damp with humidity, the heat is unbearable
and people constantly interrupt to ask for forms. An institution that
takes in millions of pesos in taxes every year carries on with feet of
clay, suffering from material precariousness and poor organization.
Congested offices, interminable paperwork and lack of information are
only some of the problems that hinder its management.

However, the setbacks don’t stop there. The lack of stable wholesale
markets with diversified products also slow down the private sector. The
inspectors fall on the cafes, restaurants and other autonomous
businesses. Strikes or any public demonstrations to reduce taxes are
strictly forbidden. It is expected that the self-employed will
contribute to the national budget, but not that we will behave like
citizens willing to make demands. The only union permitted, the Central
Workers Union of Cuba (CTC), tries to absorb us in their straitjacketed
structures. Paying monthly dues, participating in congresses where
little is accomplished, and parading in support of the same government
that lays off thousands of workers: it is to this that they want to
reduce our collective action. Why not create and legalize our own
organization, one not managed by the government? An entity that is not a
transmission line from the powers-that-be to the workers, but the reverse?

Unfortunately, most of the self-employed don’t consider that salary
independence and productivity must be tied to union sovereignty. Many
fear that at the slightest hint of a demand their licenses will be
cancelled and other measures taken against them. So they remain silent
and accept the inefficiencies of ONAT, the inability to import raw
materials from abroad, the excesses of the inspectors and other
obstacles. Nor have emerging civil society organizations managed to
capitalize on the needs of this sector to help them achieve
representation. The necessary alliance between social groups that share
nonconformity and demands doesn’t materialize. So our labor demands
continue to be postponed, caught between the fear of some and the lack
of attention from others.

Source: “Independent Labor Unions Outlawed in Cuba, For The
“Proletariat” and the Self-Employed Alike | Yoani Sanchez” –

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